Monday, August 6, 2012

Workin' for the Boss

While the rest of the world was sleeping in on Saturday, lounging around in their pajama pants, I was working hard.  My boss doesn't pay any over-time on weekends, either.  Can you believe that guy??? Luckily, I can kiss him any time I want because there aren't many other perks to the job. In fact, it's quite poopy...literally. (Just a little cow manure humor there!)

We had to do a few odds and ends, apply some pour-on to some cows, put in some fly tags, brand some cows we bought last winter, castrate a bull calf, work some calves etc. etc...

We also had to move a little group of cows from one pasture to another on the other side of the mountain.  Ideally, we'd bring a horse to work the calves, but the trailer would be filled to the max with pairs and we really didn't want to have to drive separately pulling two trailers over two hours if we could avoid it. There was just no more room, so we left the horse at home.

Big mistake.

The day started with a flat tire in the truck. We picked up a screw somewhere, and had to pull into the tire shop to get it repaired. That was the first thing to go wrong. Not a fabulous beginning.

Then we gathered the pasture and started working cows.  (My girls snapped a few pictures.) We could do most of our work in the alleyway, but we had to brand a few big cows in the chute.  The last cow to be worked, literally broke the squeeze by busting the welds on the chute.  Game over. 

Cows-1    Squeeze Chute-0

I couldn't believe my eyes. As I witnessed her little tantrum, I was thinking, "You have got to be kidding me." (My daughter really captured my expression well in this candid pic.)

Actually, not much surprises me anymore. The chute is archaic, and was practically free so my husband has to repair it from time to time to keep it limping along. It works fine for doctoring the occasional cow on our lease ground, but we desperately need to buy a new one. It's next on our "Put it on the List" list.

You are not going to believe this next part! After the last cow was pushed out the gate, my husband boss roped the bull calf that needed to be castrated... on foot. No horse.  

Then... (Here's where it get's hilarious)  a small rodeo ensues, and my husband yells, "Hurry up and flank him!!!!"


Dream on!
Do you see the size of that calf in the pictures???(FYI, my husband is 6'3" barefoot...for size comparison purposes.) The calf is barely 4 months old, but he's GINORMOUS! 

He must weigh 400, 500, one MILLION  pounds!!! (Said in the cackling voice of Dr. Evil.) I might be exaggerating a  tiny bit.

Who, exactly, does my husband think I am? The Incredible Hulk? Mr. T? The Terminator?

Let's just say that although I gave it a valiant effort, it wasn't going to happen.  

That's when my husband handed me the rope and said, "You hold him, I'll flank him."

Before I even had the opportunity to dally the rope to a post, or really sit back on it, the calf took me for a ride, and the second rodeo of the day commenced. As I was trying to tame the bucking bull, our son was yelling, "Can I heel him, Dad? Let me heel him!" 

I may, or may not have said an unkind word, turned in my resignation, and gave my boss the stink eye. It's all a blur. Who's to say how it really went down?

(There was picture documentation of the actual event...thanks to the photography skills of my 9 year old daughter. However, because of the unflattering angle of my rear-end region, expression on my face, and outcome, I will not be sharing it with you, my dear readers. I burned the evidence, metaphorically speaking.)

After things calmed down, my boss could see that it would be wise to just abort the mission and save the marriage, so he let the calf loose.

We loaded the pairs in the trailer and drove away from the scene of the incident. We turned onto the highway and my husband received a call.

It was from his buddy...who happens to know that my husband's motley work crew consisted of a wife, three young children, and no horse.

He asked my husband how it went. (All along, he knew perfectly well how it was going to go.)

My husband got a giant grin on his face, said that it went alright, and then laughter ensues on both ends of the line.

I don't know what was said on the other end of the phone, but the conversation ended with plans for the two of them to work the calves on horseback this week.

Hopefully, without me having to pull out my Wrestle Mania moves.

I think I'm going to call in sick on the day they work the calves, just to be sure.

The moral of this story:

When working cattle with your spouse, Remember..."Happy Wife, Happy Life.

I'm off to eat more Wheaties,



  1. Great story, funny as. Totally agree with the moral of the story, i learnt it the same way your husband did. PS wants flanking.

    1. Flanking is coming along side of the calf and flipping it on its side in order to take it to the ground so you can tie up it's legs, or work the calf. We needed to apply a castration ring in this case.

  2. LOL! This story sounds oh so familiar!
    Last time I helped...I got nailed with a gate...hubby was clueless until he turned around and hollered at me...
    as I'm laid out on the ground he proceeds to holler..."ya alright Les?"

  3. Bahaha. Sounds like a fun time. You know I always get the bad end of the deal too, our heifers aren't near as big as ol' blacky there but my husband ropes them and excpects to grab their tail and pull them over, Um yeah right. I maybe on the plumb side but let me tell you it ain't all muscle :) Ha! I love your face in that picture. It was a nice day though :) Your phototgrapher is really good too!

  4. Yep, those hubby's that think we can do as they can!! Too funny! I do try to do as much as he can, but ya know, whomping big bull calves, yeah, well, I'm pretty sure I'd have passed on that one.
    Loved that comment "Luckily, I can kiss him any time I want because there aren't many other perks to the job." I do love working right beside the hubby, especially working cattle, but yes, it beats all when you can give him a big ole kiss, and check out his cute little wrangler hiney sitting on a calf. ;)

  5. I'm recovering from working a cow at the moment myself--a freshly calved cow from a commercial herd who has never been handled individually before. There are 102 cows on the farm we rent a house on for the winter, due to calve the end of August. This one calved early and our landlord said we can milk her for a few weeks. What a circus! She jumped three fences and when my husband finally got a rope around her neck it still took an hour to get her snubbed up to the post! No damage to humans, although I got knocked over once; we're just praying she won't get mastitis. I had to chuckle at the picture of you when the cow broke the chute--probably how I looked when this cow jumped the fence! (No cameras outside here today, though--it's raining.)

  6. I love this post Nell!!!
    We ring our calves and when I worked on a local farm this past year we did alot of them and it hard to do on new borns. You are a brave woman and my insparation. I almost fell off my chair when I read "flank the calf". I sounds like something the lads here at home would say.

    Big hugs